New campaign launches to tackle male health ‘crisis’

Fathers4Justice has launched its #SOSManDown campaign to help reduce suicide, alcoholism and drug abuse among British men

Campaign group for fathers’ rights Fathers4Justice has launched a new offensive, calling for an urgent package of measures to reduce casualties from the higher rates of suicide, alcoholism and drug abuse suffered by men across the British Isles.
#SOSManDown has been launched by Fathers4Justice in Edinburgh, London and Dublin.
At prominent sites in all four cities, members of the public were greeted last month by the sight of the naked body of a man on a mat with the hashtag #SOSManDown and were given real-life information about who that person represented and the circumstances which led to their death. 
Fathers4Justice are calling for the following steps to be taken urgently in all parts of the British Isles:
  • Minister for Men & Boys: Just because many politicians are men, it does not mean they are addressing men’s health issues.  In fact, male politicians, like men in society, are uncomfortable discussing men’s health.
For many, the men’s health crisis and mass fatherlessness remains a political and social taboo. Some claim that because most elected representatives are men, the issues are already being addressed.
But Fathers4Justice says just because many politicians are men, it does not mean they are addressing men’s health issues. It says the opposite is true and claims male politicians, like men in society, are uncomfortable discussing men’s health, as evidenced by the failure of male politicians to address the crisis.
It says men and boys urgently need a voice in government and political representation for men’s issues, with a Minister focused on coordinating a strategy to deal with the men’s health crisis.
  • National Safety Net: A fully funded safety net for men and boys including a national Life Line and health strategy targeting the causes of male suicide, depression and other health issues, as well as supporting men in difficulty.
  • Parental Equality: Having a father is a human right. Dads should be treated equally and with dignity by the courts and the state, and their right to family life respected. That means automatic parental responsibility for all fathers and a legal presumption of shared parenting and child support.
  • A National Conversation: Let’s break the political and social taboo around men’s health and fatherlessness and bring men and women together in unity to make a difference to the lives of millions of men and boys.
Key findings from the campaign briefing also published today include:
  • The excess of premature male deaths is the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of men crashing every week
  • Nearly 4 times as many men die from suicide than in Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs)
  • The biggest killer of men under 45 is suicide and 12 men take their own lives every day in the UK.
  • Because of social stigma and religious taboos, male suicide is significantly underreported, or deaths wrongly attributed to other causes such as ‘accidental’ or ‘undetermined intent’ by coroners.
  • Dads are 3 times more likely to die after separation than mothers.
  • More boys aged 15 have a smartphone than live with their father
  • More than 1 in 3 children never see their father again after their parents separate.
Matt O’Connor, who founded Fathers4Justice in 2001, said: “The #SOSManDown campaign has been born out of the stories of suffering and loss we have received from the thousands of broken men we have helped since our foundation in 2001.  The campaign aims to break the wall of silence surrounding the men’s health crisis and calls on respective governments across the British Isles to take urgent action.”
“We want women and men to join together to tackle this wall of silence. In the same way that women’s health issues should be relevant to men, men’s health issues should also be tackled by everyone because they affect everyone. Those suffering will be someone’s son, someone’s nephew, someone’s uncle or someone’s father.”
“We need a comprehensive package of measures to tackle long-term health issues which face men including a recognised voice in government to coordinate efforts and show that, whilst the majority of politicians might be male they have shied away from tackling this health crisis.”
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